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Reject appeal, urge Pistorius team

Lawyers for Oscar Pistorius have filed court papers opposing a prosecution move to appeal the verdict and sentence in his murder trial.

They say that Judge Thokozile Masipa should not grant prosecutors permission to challenge her decision to acquit Pistorius of murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door.

Judge Masipa instead found the double-amputee Olympic athlete guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison.

Prosecutors want to appeal that verdict, saying Judge Masipa made an error in her interpretation of the law. They said they also want to appeal the sentence, calling it "shockingly light".

Pistorius, who turns 28 this weekend, could be released from jail to go under house arrest after 10 months in prison. He is currently serving his sentence at a prison in the South African capital, Pretoria.

If on the appeal Pistorius is convicted of murder, he would face a minimum of 15 years in prison.

The prosecution filed its initial appeal papers earlier this month. They must first ask Judge Masipa for permission to take the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal and a hearing with her is scheduled for December 9.

In their response, which was filed yesterday according to a court stamp, Pistorius' defence lawyers said prosecutors' arguments are flawed and Judge Masipa had "correctly applied" the law in Pistorius' murder trial.

The multiple Paralympic champion's lawyers also noted that the parents of his slain girlfriend, Barry and June Steenkamp, "expressed their satisfaction with the sentence".

"The correct approach is to ... strike the matter from the roll," Pistorius' lawyers wrote, asking Judge Masipa to dismiss the appeal.

Prosecutors want to appeal a third decision by Judge Masipa, where she found Pistorius not guilty of illegal possession of ammunition for bullets found in his home for which he didn't have a licence.


From Belfast Telegraph